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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  December 3, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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couple nights. see you at 6:00. captions by: caption colorado >> pelley: tonight, br news on the derailment. we now have the results of brake and alcohol tests. jeff pegues reports. bill whitaker on a system that might have saved lives. a judge o.k.s detroit's epic bankruptcy. dean reynolds reports pensions are in jeopardy. >> i feel angry. >> pelley: clarissa ward discovers a scorched-earth war where reporters are banned. >> reporter: you can see the scale of the destruction from those shells. >> pelley: and the chinese order teachers to ease up on the home work. seth doane on how kids pay for those straight as. >> sometimes i cry in the middle of the night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioning this is the "cbs evening news"
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with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. late today, federal investigators said there was nothing wrong with the brakes on that metro north commuter train that derailed in new york city sunday morning killing four passengers and injuring dozens of others. they said that the brakes had been tested before and during the train's run. yet to be answered is why the train was going nearly three times the speed limit. it's coming down to the actions of the engineer and jeff pegues, our transportation correspondent has the latest. jeff? >> reporter: scott, in addition to that information about the brakes, the n.t.s.b. revealed late today that there was no sign that any of the crew members-- including the engineer-- had used alcohol. this is n.t.s.b. board member earle wainer earlier today. >> reporter: increasingly, the
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focus of the investigation appears to be human error. sources say that william rockefeller, jr., the engineer, told first responders on sunday that before the train went off the tracks he began to "daze, thinking about nothing particular." then as the train derailed he applied the emergency brakes. the n.t.s.b. said rockefeller had switched from a night shift to a day shift two weeks before the crash. he reported to work on time on sunday at 5:04 a.m. >> there's every indication that he would have had time to get full restorative sleep. >> reporter: investigators are looking at his 15-year work history and reviewing the 72 hours leading up to the accident but already conclusions are being drawn by some new york lawmakers. in a radio interview, governor andrew cuomo said excessive speed was to blame.
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>> pelley: today, former m.t.a. supervisor, michael mcclendon, a friend of rockefeller, came to the engineer's defense. >> to say safety was something uncommon to him, it was everyday practices for him. >> reporter: the governor of new york wants m.t.a. employees to participate in a safety review and, scott, the cleanup here at the scene has progressed to the point where one of the tracks will be back open tomorrow ready for the morning commute. >> pelley: jeff pegues at the crash site on the harlem river. thanks very much. that n.t.s.b. investigator you saw in jeff's report said the train wreck could have been prevented by something called a positive train control system or p.t.c. congress ordered railroads to install the system by 2015, but most-- including new york's metro north-- have not done that and here's bill whitaker. >> reporter: this 2008 collision in los angeles between a commuter and freight train took the lives of 25 people and prompted congress to act.
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los angeles is working to be the first city to get the p.t.c. safety system up and running. richard katz is one of the directors of metrolink, l.a.'s commuter system. >> we believe that every year you delay positive train control people will die that don't have to. >> reporter: positive train control uses satellite technology to transmit signals from thousands of sensors on tracks in trains along railways to a bank of central control computers. if a train is going too fast approaching the curve-- like the metro north train in new york sunday-- the system first will warn the conductor. if there's no human response the system will respond. >> positive train control can take over controls of the train and slow it down safely so there's no jamming on the emergency brake at the last moment or trying to fix a problem after it's already started. this is designed to prevent accidents from happening. >> reporter: katz says l.a. is on track to have the system in place a year before the 2015 congressional mandate.
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there are many train systems that say they can't meet that. it's too expensive too soon. >> we're spending close to $220 million on the system here. i don't know how you put a price tag on lives saved or accidents avoided. >> reporter: scott, los angeles will begin testing the system this month. operators of metro north in new york say they need more time and they've asked congress for a three-year extension until 2018. that request is under review. >> pelley: bill whitaker in our los angeles newsroom. bill, thanks very much. the way was cleared today for the largest public bankruptcy in american history. a federal judge approved a plan that will, among other things, allow detroit to reduce the pensions of city workers and retirees. something that they long thought could never and would never happen. dean reynolds is in detroit for us tonight. dean? >> reporter: scott, good evening. well, federal judge stephen
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rhodes agreed that bankruptcy is the only way out for a city that can no longer serve its people or pay off its debts, estimated at $18 billion. detroit's current situation is so bad, though, that the sacrifice involved in a financial restructuring this big will hurt-- a lot. dave bing is detroit's mayor. >> there's going to be pain that goes around and we've got to figure out how we can mediate the least amount of pain for any one individual. >> are you loosening up, dave? >> reporter: david allen was a firefighter for 20 years before a roof collapsed on him and left him disabled. he receives $3,000 a month from the city-- for now. >> i'm getting better with the therapy that i'm taking but if they were to cut out my benefits as they're talking about doing i can't afford it, i won't be able to afford it. >> reporter: actually, a
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financial consultant for the city said pensioners may get as little as 16 cents on the dollar. that would leave allen with about $400 a month, and he is one of 23,500 city retirees. do you feel betrayed? >> i feel betrayed, i feel shortchanged, i feel angry. >> reporter: but to do nothing would worsen a situation in a city where there's little money even for the basics. the short handed police take 58 minutes on average to respond to a call for help here. the national average is 11 minutes. there were 15,200 violent crimes last year, but less than 20% were solved. only a third of the city's 36 ambulances are in service. and 40% of the street lights are out. >> we're not quite there. >> reporter: kevyn orr was appointed by the governor as detroit's emergency manager to get detroit out of bankruptcy and back on its feet. >> we're going to try to do this in a very measured and thoughtful way, but it has to be
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done. >> reporter: now, details of detroit's restructuring could start to emerge as early as next month, scott, and could serve as something of a model for other municipalities around the country facing financial problems of their own. >> pelley: dean, thanks very much. today the president asked for a second chance for on the first day of his new campaign, president obama said the health insurance web site is now working for the vast majority of users. republicans still want to rollback obamacare but to that mr. obama said this:. >> i will work with anybody to implement and improve this law effectively. you got good ideas? bring them to me. let's go. but we're not repealing it as long as i'm president. >> pelley: the white house told us today that 650,000 americans visited the web site today alone.
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the administration says there were one million visits yesterday. manuel bojorquez tells us many of the people visiting the site are having a much more positive experience than earlier users did. >> come on, guys. >> reporter: moksha efsea, a pet sitter in fort worth, texas, said he had no problem enrolling in, a big difference from two months ago. >> i'm a dog walker, it's a difference between a cooperative thing and a friendly dog wagging their tail and one trying to bite me. >> reporter: because he has panic attacks, he says private insurance would have cost him $800 a month. with a tax credit, his new plan will cost $112. looks like it's going to work out for everyone. the savings are unimaginable. >> reporter: in dallas, le dawn stark spent yesterday afternoon trying to sign up, too. she's been uninsured for the last three years and her attempts to log on in october
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were unsuccessful. >> i was not even able to get to the point to where it tells you about the different plans available. >> reporter: she tried to enroll on the revamped site. compare this to the old web site. >> this is far better. >> reporter: but a few minutes later a problem occurred. the system did not recognize her son's social security number and she could not go forward. you were hoping to sign up today. >> i'm going to call them and we're going to get to the bottom of this because i need to get this done. >> reporter: le dawn stark tried to set up an account by phone today but still was not able to complete the enrollment process. scott, she says she will try again in a few days. >> pelley: manuel, thanks very much. tonight a massive snowstorm is threatening an area from the rockies to the great lakes. it's been snowing all day in duluth, minnesota. blizzard conditions could disrupt travel this evening. more than a foot of snow has
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fallen north of denver, another six inches may fall tonight. and in the midwest parts of minnesota are expecting about a foot. a private american company hopes to reach a milestone in the new space race. clarissa ward goes undercover to show us a war that few americans know about. and some of the fastest cars in the world never need a fill-up. when the "cbs evening news" continues. it helps significantly improve my lung function starting within five minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better. and that on! symbicort is for copd including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be t÷oaken more than twice a day. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections,
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>> pelley: tonight, clarissa ward is going to take us into a war you haven't seen. we've been watching chaos sweep the eastern mediterranean. libya is little more than a failed state run by militias, syria is in a ruinous civil war, and egypt's democracy was crushed by a coup. now egypt's military dictatorship is fighting what it calls terrorists in the sinai peninsula. rebels there want to establish a strict islamic state. the battle has gone largely uncovered-- until now. >> reporter: this is what egypt's war on terrorism looks like up close. these propaganda videos by islamic extremists document one attack after another on egyptian security forces. these are the people behind those attacks. in the desert along the border with israel, a funeral was held for four militants killed last summer. their bodies draped in the black
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flag of militant islam. the imam called for jihad against the egyptian government and jews and christians across the world. "we will show you the fires of hell" he shouted. "in each and every country." egypt's military has launched a major offensive in this remote and impoverished part of the country. journalists are strictly prohibited from traveling into sinai so we went in undercover. we saw house upon house leveled, cars and tractors burned, evidence of a scorched-earth policy by egyptian forces. owners of this destroyed home were too scared to appear on camera. family members told us that tanks began firing artillery shells on the house early one morning and you can see the scale of the destruction from those shells and villagers here tell us that this wasn't the first time this happened.
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that more than 60 homes have been hit in this way. people here believe this is collective punishment to force tribal leaders to drive out the militants. these are the men the army is really looking for. top of their list is shadi al munayi, the leader of the most active terrorist group in sinai. in a remote desert location, we met his brother who asked us not to show his face. "if my brother is a terrorist, i thank him" he said. "they burn our houses. who else will defend us." so you see your brother as a hero? "not just my brother," he said. "we treasure anyone who defends our children." it's a view shared by many here, frustrated by the army's harsh crackdown, sympathy for the extremists is on the rise. does your brother's group have any relationship with al qaeda?
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"only god knows," he said. "it is possible." it's that possibility that has egypt's military taking such a hard line here. the question is whether that strategy is backfiring. clarissa ward, cbs news, sinai, egypt. >> pelley: today in moscow bolshoi ballet dancer pavel dmitrichenko was sentenced to six years in prison for an acid attack on the ballet's artistic director. the two had been feuding. dmitrichenko is the prisoner on the right. two accomplices also received long prison sentences. the victim of the attack, sergei feelin, suffered severe burns to his face and lost most of the vision in one eye. china's students have some of the highest test scores in the world. so why are the chinese cutting back on home work? that's next. it's a stationery and gifts store.
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asthma doesn't affect my job... you were out sick last week. my asthma doesn't bother my family... you coughed all through our date night! i hardly use my rescue inhaler at all. what did you say? how about - every day? coping with asthma isn't controlling it. test your level of control at, then talk to your doctor. there may be more you could do for your asthma. >> pelley: today we got the results from a test given to 15- year-olds all around the world. students in shanghai, china, scored the highest in math, reading, and science. american teens did not make the top 20. so we were surprised today to learn that the chinese are going to try something revolutionary. they're cutting back on home work. we asked seth doane to find out why. >> reporter: who's happy about not having home work?
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the reaction from these second graders was not surprising. a resounding show of support. the proposed changes means students in grades one through three would not be assigned home work. those in grades four through six would have less than an hour of home work a day. liu xiaojing teaches kindergarten in beijing's elementary school. "not giving home work leads more space for kids to grow" she told us. "students can develop freely and do what they enjoy doing." >> we can read books. >> reporter: ten-year-old daisey told us she might dance or draw. while 12-year-old charlie had something else in mind. >> playing football or playing basketball with my classmates. >> reporter: china puts heavy emphasis on standardize tests which prizes memorization over creativity. under the new proposals, those
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would be eliminated in lower grades. >> when i was in junior high school sometimes i'd cry in the middle of the night because all i could think about were grades and my tests. >> reporter: high school seniors emma jiang and jessie li, both 17, told us the academic pressure is intense. from an american perspective it seems like chinese students are doing very well. test scores are high. why would you make this change? >> i feel like, you know, we miss out on the more important things. when you tell people that i got a 2,400 on my s.a.t.s, not convincing that you are a well- rounded person. >> reporter: and with china's pride so intertwined with its students' top rankings, the education ministry has so far been silent on when its no-home work rule may be applied across the country. seth doane, cbs news, beijing. >> pelley: well, america's well ahead of china in space and
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today just after sundown a space rocket lifted off from cape canaveral in florida and delivered a communications satellite into orbit. it's a first for spacex. it's a private company that is already sending cargo to the international space station. in the future, spacex also hopes to send astronauts aloft. is this the future of drag racing? what happened to the roar of the engines? that's coming next. engines? that's coming next. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you. if every u.s. home replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the energy saved could light how many homes? 1 million? 2 million? 3 million? the answer is... 3 million homes. by 2030, investments in energy efficiency
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place. where buyer's competn is fierce. next on kpix 5 weather talent appears at wx center with generic pinpoint filling monitor then we take special sponsored 7- >> pelley: finally tonight, the main selling point for electric cars has been avoiding trips to the gas station. now car companies are putting new emphasis on performance. think fast, very fast. here's jeff glor. >> reporter: drag racing is a sport that's often fiery and loud. at least it was. welcome to the track in the age of electric cars. >> they make about 400 horse power in each motor. >> reporter: john metric is the president of the national electric drag racing association. when you tell someone you drag race electric vehicles, what's their reaction? >> they go like, well, that's -- neat. (laughs) >> reporter: but they don't take it seriously.
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>> until we tell them the time. >> reporter: metric and his teammates in texas have outfit add 2002 mazda miata with 120 small electric batteries. all electric power, zero gasoline. they invited us along for the ride. you call this launching? >> launching like a rocket. >> reporter: an electric motor has full launching power the second it's turned on. crucial for quick acceleration. metric has never attempted this kind of race with someone in the passenger seat. and we went 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. a normal gas-powered miata does that in 7.6 seconds. >> you were probably the first passenger ever to do 100 miles an hour in the eighth mile that i've ever heard of. >> reporter: the car does have to be recharged after two runs, but the promise of electric is why formula 1 is launching an electric racing series starting next year and it's why every car company in the world is paying
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attention right now. larry webster is editor-in-chief of "road and track" magazine. >> motor sport has always been the place where technology is pushed, where there's new ideas that get to be tried and tested and even perfected. they're learning the limitations of batteries, how quickly they can take energy out or in. so there's direct transfer to what they're doing to somewhere down the line in the cars we drive. >> reporter: metric think this electric vehicle can reach 200 miles an hour inside ten seconds. he has fewer doubters everyday. jeff glor, cbs news, texas. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. we're going to leave you tonight with a look at the capitol christmas tree which was light little earlier this evening. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night. around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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market is pushing home pricn the east bay through the ro. good evening, i cook. the ripple effect from our tech-fueled red hot real estate market is pushing home prices in the east bay through the roof. good evening i'm elizabeth cooke. home prices have shot up more than 50%. the nation's hot spot, the sellers a city you might not expect. >> reporter: as unassuming as it may be, freemont street may be the real estate boom. >> when a house comes on the market, it's like circling sharks. people are willing, able, and ready to pay the price. >> reporter: four houses have sold in the last year, and the new owners are glad it's over.
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>> i had to outbid nine other people to get this house. i was in a bidding war, and i was tired of it. >> reporter: mamorje was was fed up. he had his agent go door-to- door finding someone to sell. >> it's like a dream. >> reporter: this is the top u.s. city for home sellers, good schools, low crime, and buyer competition are the reasons. in freemont the averaghome is on the market for 3 weeks. if you put it on the market today, it could be sold by christmas. the homes sell so fast, inventory is not keeping up. >> usually you see 300 to 400 houses for sale. right now we are down to 70 houses. >> reporter: buyers need to make up their minds quickly and be willing to pay up. those who went through it recently said they are staying put. >> i don't want to go